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2008 Corsa; Engine won't turn over.

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New User

Jan 13, 2015, 10:56 AM

Post #1 of 4 (1169 views)
2008 Corsa; Engine won't turn over. Sign In

Hello fellow carjunkies!

After a month of googling, reading forums, contacting friends etc. I finally gave up trying to pretend I know what I'm doing and realize I'm best off asking someone with real knowledge. This is the information I got about the car:

Year of vehicle : 2008
Make of vehicle : Vauxhall (Opel in EU/US)
Model of vehicle : Corsa D
Engine size : 1L
Mileage/Kilometers : +/- 45.000 miles

Before I start explaining the problem, I want to note that since around September I've noticed that when I use an electrical appliance in the car, e.g. electric windows, radio, windscreen wipers etc., the lights dim, as if it doesn't have enough power. I have been explained the alternator is supposed to take over the battery as soon as the car runs, so I thought it might be the alternator in that case, but the battery does charge.

Since November I've noticed I lost a lot of power in my car, and even going uphill required me to almost put my pedal to the floor. At the end of November the exhaust management light came on and I thought that the cat needed a clean. Having slight money issues I thought I could use some cat cleaner and give it a bit of a rough ride to clean it out. This didn't help, but didn't change anything either. According to a friend this is the "limp home mode"? Either case, I've left it at this and thought it could last up until the next maintenance. In mid December we wanted to go out, but the car didn't start. While turning the key the engine turned over, but didn't ignite. I tried this 2 or 3 times, with each time the engine making less noise to the point we only heard clicking. Next we tried to give it a running start, which worked. Afraid of breaking down midway we decided to leave it at home, so i reversed back into the drive, turned the car off and waited a moment. Then I started again and to my surprise it worked again. Convinced it might just be the cold weather we get back inside the house to get our stuff to yet again make the trip, but once we get back inside the car and try to start the car it only ticks, yet again.

Beginning of January we got an OBDII reader. The faultcodes that came up on the DTC were P0038 / P0138 and P0141. These are point to the Bank II Sensor II o2 sensor (high voltage relay). We have ordered a new lambda sensor which we got now, but it seems there is no point replacing that yet as that wouldn't stop the car from starting. We'd like for the engine to be able to turn over first, fixing one problem at a time.

Around a week ago ago we hooked the battery up to a trickle charger and left it charging overnight. (Not a dumb charger, one that cuts off once done to not fry the cells.) This didn't make any change whatsoever.

Actually, funny thing is, which is not directly related, at one point when i had the bonnet open with the key in the ignition, the wind shut the door, and it automatically locked it, which it normally doesn't do. That made me think it might have been an electrical problem. When we got someone to force the door open we also asked him about the problems we were having. He advised us to look at the fuses and the starter motor , which would be the next step, but as it is at the bottom of the engine we would like to ask for advice first before we start taking it apart. The fuses have been checked, and the relay fuses have been interchanged, this had no result either.

I recorded the sound it makes from when I try to turn the key:

If anyone has any suggestions or information about what could possibly wrong, preferably with a bit of certainty as we can't afford an awful lot at the moment which is why we can't bring it to a garage, it would be very much so appreciated!

Thank you for reading!


Just a quick edit because failed to mention a push start won't work anymore since it has stood still for about 2 weeks.

(This post was edited by Danian on Jan 13, 2015, 11:10 AM)

Tom Greenleaf
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
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Jan 13, 2015, 11:38 AM

Post #2 of 4 (1123 views)
Re: 2008 Corsa; Engine won't turn over. Sign In

This car not sold where most of us are but doesn't really matter.

All that and what you describe is most likely a bad battery or charging system can't keep up or both because of the other.

Take battery out if needed and LOAD test it. I can smell it across the pond it doesn't have enough "amps" to do diddle even if it shows fully charged so would a 12v watch battery - get it?

Charging system requires power from battery to charge when in use. Fuel pumps and ignition + assorted monitors are consuming power to run at all so the push and start trick means nothing that it didn't work.

You said the lights were dimming and if they were doing that with engine running you could just see volts drop below par then know for sure but that alone is really enough.

Just check out (for real not a meter but tested under load) the battery and if even close to good then check that it charges within range when running which should be about 13 - 15V DC and never below that 13V with electrical thing turned on,


New User

Jan 13, 2015, 1:48 PM

Post #3 of 4 (1108 views)
Re: 2008 Corsa; Engine won't turn over. Sign In

Thank you kindly for your response.

Back in Holland they were called Opel, living in England now it's Vauxhall, so I just wanted to avoid confusion that's all Tongue.

My father in law also thought of it being the battery seeing as it has gone flat in the past 2 or 3 times, and we will go out tomorrow to pick one up and replace it. Even if that doesn't solve the problem the current battery is tiny and rather old, so it wouldn't be a bad thing to replace it either case. If we get any results I will post back here.

Again, thank you so much for your reply, it is nice to hear of someone who knows his stuff when you're very unsure yourself.


Tom Greenleaf
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
Tom Greenleaf profile image

Jan 13, 2015, 5:07 PM

Post #4 of 4 (1098 views)
Re: 2008 Corsa; Engine won't turn over. Sign In

OK - With any of the symptoms you must know you are beginning with a good fully charged battery at least. Go for quality as best you can which isn't always it's power rating but a brand's reputation. Ask place or do it yourself, charge the new one first! You may be surprised they are NOT fully charged when new but would work for a working system.

If you can find out the age of the new battery. They are marked either encrypted or something obvious telling the month and year it was made. They age from that date whether sold or not. Try to get one that's 3 months from that date or less - ask if encrypted #s and letters that are melted into the case of the battery so THEY know too and rotate stock.

From there this problem should either be done or change and can check on down what else it could be. Look and feel how tight the belt is to the alternator which may be a self adjusted type or manually adjusted belt tension. Has to be right also.

Remember when disconnecting a battery for any reason you should take negative cable off first and back on last. It's even better if you learn how to use (another thing to buy if you want) a memory saver so anything the car is remembering, computer adjustments, radio settings and clock stay as they were.

Good luck. High bet on the battery being the whole issue. Should go without saying that cables should be clean and snugged up just right as well,

(Funny - Last Opel I worked on was sold by Buick here but made in Germany by some company and not many sold here but that was 1970 and what we would call a dinky little car wasn't very popular for most)

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